Mutiny Upset Breakers in Stoppage Time
- Updated: July 7, 2012
EAST LONGMEADOW, Mass. – Mutiny head coach Tony Horta had a decision to make in Saturday’s clash against the Breakers.
With his team down a goal to the best team in the league in the waning minutes and subs at his disposal, Horta could do one of two things: play it safe or play for the win.
“A couple of the coaches asked if we were going to go four in the back,” Horta said. “And I said ‘no, we need to go for the win.'”
So Horta tweaked the formation and put three at the top, then stood by and watched his club score two stoppage time goals in Saturday’s 2-1 comeback win over the first place Breakers at East Longmeadow High School.
“It’s great when it works out,” Horta said. “(Boston) could’ve came back and scored two (more), but fortunately for us, we were able to finish.”
While Horta may have made all the right moves in crunch time, it was his team’s relentless pursuit of three points that led to one of the biggest wins in franchise history.
After an injury to Breakers midfielder Amanda DaCosta in the 90th minute gave way to additional minutes of stoppage time, the Mutiny had to like their chances. A chance to equalize. Maybe even a chance to win it.
About a minute into stoppage time, Tiffany Weimer grabbed a ball in front of the 18 and barrelled through with a clear shot on frame. With no one but Alice Binns to beat, the Mutiny forward went inside the near post to level it just like that.
“I just got a great ball through,” Weimer said. “I knew that (Binns) made some great saves earlier and all I had to do was put it where she couldn’t reach it. I just flicked it nice and easy.”
Given where the Mutiny and Breakers resided in the standings – fifth and first, respectively – a come-from-behind draw would’ve sent the crowd home plenty happy. After all, it’s not every day that an “amateur” side gets a result against one of the top-four “professional” squads. In fact, it hadn’t happened at all in WPSL Elite.
That was, of course, until the final moments of stoppage time transpired. And for the Mutiny, those scenes unfolded in a manner fit for a Hollywood ending.
With the seconds ticking away from the referee’s watch, the Mutiny mounted one final advance. Becca Mays carried it down the right flank before crossing it into the area, where an unmarked Taleen Dimirdjian tapped it through. Game. Set. Match.
“I just kind of sprinted into the box where I felt there were no other defenders in there,” Dimirdjian said. “Becca just put a great cross in and I just had to finish it.”
Even though Weimer and Dimirdjian were the Mutiny’s most visible heroes, the comeback wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of goalkeeper Vikki Alonzo.
At the half hour mark, the Mutiny keeper made what can only be described as one of the most sensational saves of the season. With the scoreboard unblemished, DaCosta collected a pass from Kyah Simon near the top of the box and fired away a shot that had visions of finding the back of the net. But that was until Alonzo acrobatically twisted into its path to make an astonishing behind-the-back save.
Alonzo rose to the occasion again in the 74th minute, when Simon confidently tapped a Leslie Osbourne pass toward an open net before the effort was denied right on the doorstep.
“She was big,” Horta said of his starting keeper. “She made some key saves at the beginning when they could’ve scored.”
Yet, even when Simon did score in the 47th minute to give the Breakers the advantage, the Mutiny never backed down. Not with a tired Breakers side on the pitch. And most certainly not in front a packed stadium.
With nothing to lose and everything to gain, the Mutiny pulled it off. Thanks to an unshakable brand of determination – oh, and a big gamble by their boss – the Mutiny delivered a win that won’t be soon forgotten by the 1,031 in attendance.
“It was huge!” Dimirdjian said. “I think the last couple of minutes was all about hard work and making sure we stayed connected up top. We certainly did that and gave a lot of energy and I think it really made the difference in the end.”